Familiar faces on show as UUJ take on Rosario

UUJ Manager Shane McCullough. INNT 41-144-GR
UUJ Manager Shane McCullough. INNT 41-144-GR

There will be familiar faces on opposing benches as Shane McCullough leads UUJ into league action for the first time on Saturday at a Rosario YC.

The south Belfast club are now under the guidance of one-time Jordanstwown boss, Fra Miskelly along with Danny Walsh.

Fra and Danny led UUJ to their highest-ever Amateur League placing a couple of years ago, as well as to three Clarence Cup semi-finals in six seasons.

Not only that, but Shane and Fra were former team-mates in their playing days at Banbridge Town and Shorts.

Since the surprise departure of Miskelly and Walsh, UUJ have had Darrach Teague and Stevie McIvor at the helm before the appointment of McCullough who got off to a winning start with Saturday’s 2-0 Irish Cup victory over Wellington Rec at the Factory Grounds.

As Shane explained: “I had been there the week before in a watching capacity but this was my first real match.

“I asked them to play with a bit more freedom, to go out and enjoy themselves. There’s no real pressure on us. Our priority is to move up from the bottom of the 1A table and the Irish Cup was a nice distraction.

“It gave us a chance to try things out and Lawrence Lyons’ first goal was one we had worked on at training on Thursday, getting players to follow up, and Lawrence got the rebound after Padraig Scollay’s shot was parried by the keeper.

“While I’m trying to strengthen the squad, the players on Saturday were great. We just need to improve on our finishing, as we could have been out of sight had we taken our chances.

“We played some lovely stuff, but didn’t get our just rewards. Things will improve too once some players, just back from injury, get fitter.

“Also, the clean sheet was a real positive. It’s good to build from the back.”

UUJ’s second, in the second half, came courtesy a long-range chip from Lyons.